As I began preparing for my next endurocross event, I found myself contemplating the purchase of a new bike. Being relatively new in the world of enduro racing, I had a 2015 KTM Freeride E-XC. Although I loved my motorcycle, it wasn’t as efficient on the race track as some of the newer bikes that were being released. The thought of enhancing and modifying the KTM had crossed my mind but it didn’t appeal to me as much as the purchase of an entirely new motorcycle. Since I was becoming more interested and involved in endurocross, I figured it was worth it to make the change but I’d have to do some thorough research before I decided to throw money down on a brand new motorcycle.
Before I started looking into the newer lines of enduro bikes available, I wrote out a list of things that disappointed me when it came to my KTM. Of course, some of these flaws could easily be corrected but I wanted to write them all out anyway so that I could draw comparisons as I conducted my research. Here is what I didn’t like very much about my 2015 KTM Freeride E-XC:
- The brakes were rather weak. There wasn’t a lot of stopping power and the brake pedal was quite small and difficult to get used to. The clutch and brake levers were also a little small for my preference.
- It’s lightweight construction (easy to ride but I wanted something with more weight and durability).
- The tires weren’t all that great. They were too light and soft. They had a hard time shedding the mud, dirt and debris.
- The bike was more entry-level than professional and I wanted something more advanced.
Weak forks. The forks have a hard time holding up after long jumps even after I adjusted the springs.
Through my research I started looking further into the new Alta Redshift EX. I had heard a lot about this bike since its 2018 release was announced last November. Even though the bike was much different than my KTM, it was hard not to gain interest. Alta already earned a reputation as a brand that created bikes that were fun to ride, versatile and reliable. However, if I decided to buy the new Alta, I’d have to sell my KTM which in some ways was heartbreaking.
What Fueled My Decision…
After learning the specs of the Alta Redshift EX and reading a ton of reviews, there were some things that really stood out to me. These things ultimately fueled my decision to ditch the KTM and buy the new electric Alta enduro bike.
- The bike had no clutch or shift levers but instead featured a module on the left side of the handlebar that gave access to performance maps. The map you were in basically controlled the shifting of gears. For example, maps 1 & 2 released less power than maps 3 & 4 which were for full performance. Once in these performance maps, to move the bike you only needed to give the throttle an ⅛ of a turn.
- The bike weighs 275 lbs which is about 66 lbs heavier than my KTM.
- It was said through reviews that the Alta got excellent traction especially in performance maps 1 & 2 which are primarily used during tighter technical tracks.
- Fully adjustable WP suspension with front and rear Brembo brakes.
- Although versatile and great for street and off-road riding, entry level and professional riders, this latest Alta bike is much more advanced than my KTM.
At first, I was extremely apprehensive about my latest and well, expensive buy but my excitement seemed to overrule these emotions. When the Alta Redshift EX was delivered by A1Auto and dropped off in my driveway, its overall appearance was much different than that of my previous bike. I started doubting my hasty decision to purchase a new bike so close to my next endurocross race. I even went inside to watch more videos before I jumped on the bike to test it out.
Once I gave the Alta a few test runs on various terrains, I found myself completely satisfied with my new addition especially on off-road trails. It did take a lot of getting used to, but all the adjustment was worth it. Learning the bike might have taken me some time but it wasn’t nearly as tough as it could’ve been and the prospect of using it in my next race didn’t intimidate me at all.
What I Learned and Noticed So Far
I found that using the performance maps through the module on the left side of the handlebar was much easier to use than I anticipated. The lack of clutch and shift levers was actually a nice change and made racing on the track much easier to focus on which in return, made the overall experience more exciting and enjoyable.
Fully charged, the Alta’s battery life lasted about 3 hours whereas my KTM got about an hour and a half. The only pitfall (of sorts) was that it took 80 minutes to charge my KTM battery and about 2.5 hours to fully charge. In hindsight, this wasn’t a bad change, just one that took some getting used to.
Braking on the Alta was much simpler considering the brake pedal was bigger and took less force to gain stopping power. The way your bike brakes can even be adjusted through the performance maps. The regenerative braking system works smoothly and responds much like a 450.
Since I was very eager to find a ride with better tires and traction, I was slightly disappointed. I found that the tires didn’t really give much more grip and neither did the foot peg. This will probably be the first and only enhancement I make to the bike in the near future.
Overall, switching out my 2015 KTM Freeride E-XC for the Alta Redshift EX was one of the greatest decisions I ever made. My wife still isn’t thrilled with my latest purchase, but that’s something that in time, she will have to get over. As for me, racing has become even more thrilling and my desire for endurocross has grown immensely since the electric Alta was delivered and I used it on the track for the first time. My KTM served me well in my beginning years of enduro racing but I have to say, I’m not sure I miss it as much as I thought I would.
Note of the Publisher:
pictures in this article are press release pictures of KTM & Alta Motors to represent both brands. This is a reader’s opinion and as we all know the evolution of electric motorcycles continues to grow very fast. If you want to discuss or have any comments, you can find it at our Facebook page.